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Pride Month Recap 🌈🦄

Posted By ThinkLA, Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, July 18, 2018

ThinkLA's corporate members celebrated Pride Month with many different events and fundraisers benefiting the LGBTQ+ community. We're all in this together. 🌈🌈🌈

 

605, a TV data and analytics company, takes diversity, inclusion, and community service to heart year 'round. This past month, employees from coast to coast showed their pride by donating clothes to Ali Forney Center (New York) and LA LGBT Center (Los Angeles), organizations dedicated to lending a helping hand to LGBTQ+ individuals in need.

 

The Oath team marched together in the Pride Parade! For over 40 years, L.A. Pride has been a champion for equality, diversity, and inclusion in the L.A. community and beyond.



 

At POSSIBLE LA, it’s all about pride! Sarah Keene, Art Director at POSSIBLE created this beautiful representation of various LGBTQ+ influencers.


 

RPA raised $4,392.50 for The Family Village Services. This money will fund a program that serves some of the most vulnerable in society: homeless LGBTQ+ youth. This program has been a labor of love for the organization with no dedicated budget, so this money will have a huge impact for youth and teens in our community. In order to fundraise, RPA hosted various events and sales:

  • RPA @ LGBT+ Dodger night game
  • Drag Queen Bingo to raise money for Project Q (LGBTQ outreach program featuring weekly support groups at their homeless youth drop-in centers) and Queer Kickback (biannual events sponsored by The Village bringing together LGBTQ+ youth in a safe space)
  • Raising money for The Village Family Services throughout the entire month of June via T-Shirt Sales and donation-driven breakfast and bar carts in addition to Bingo and Art Gallery events.
  • Pride Art Show/Summer Concert Series Pride Happy Hour



 
At the core of Pride Week at TBWA LA is a fundraising effort that benefits the L.A. Youth Network, an organization that provides hope and homes for foster and homeless LGBTQ+ youth due to the rising statistic that 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ+. The agency raised money with the following activities: 
  • Art Gallery: the agency curates an art gallery featuring pieces of work from an artist or photographer who either identifies with or is closely involved with the LGBTQA community. Prints are donated to the agency and auctioned off at the end of the week with all proceeds benefiting the non-profit organization.
  • Bake Sale: the agency found a plethora of passionate bakers across the campus who love to get creative with rainbow-colored treats for the campus bake sale. 
  • T-Shirt Design Competition: the winning design is decided by Chief Creative Officers on campus, made and sold to employees with all proceeds benefiting the non-profit organization. 
  • Agency talk and Musical Performance: a talk from Tre’vell Anderson, film reporter with The Los Angeles Times who covers the intersection of diversity and Hollywood with a focus on black and queer film; musical guest included Gordi, an Australian folktronica singer/songwriter who identifies with the LGBTQA community, and pop band MUNA played at the agency. 
  • Pride Parade and Celebration: the week’s celebration culminated at the Los Angeles Pride Parade where the campus came together to walk as a team. 

 Giant Spoon celebrated the LGBTQ+ community with a new digital video campaign and activation at San Francisco Pride for its client MassMutual. Similar to its social mosaic video, Pride attendees were able to take pictures in a GIF photo booth. With a message that rings, "Great things happen when we stand together,” the campaign invited the larger community to participate and stand together during Pride Month. 

 

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Would you like to see your company's Pride news or other community outreach programs on this blog? Email don@thinkla.org with your news!

Tags:  #ThinkDIG  DIG  Diversity  Diversity in Advertising  LGBTQ+  PRIDE 

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Key Takeaways from the 3% Minicon

Posted By Emily Hope, Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Written by Brook Hauge, Associate Director, Strategy at Canvas Worldwide and Jana Wentz, VP, Account Director at RPA

Edited by Don Lupo, Director of Content and Marketing at ThinkLA

Diversity is about representation, while inclusion is having an equal seat and a voice at the table. At the end of the day, I notice and you notice. We have the ability to make this world more open and inclusive for everyone.

If we keep pushing at the same ideas and ideals, we are simply pattern matching, which runs the risk of “mirror-tocracy” (funding and working with those who look, feel, and seem just like yourself) vs. meritocracy (influenced by those in power).

From a technology perspective, people are inherently looking for, craving, and designing more connections, but are we really creating meaningful ones? We teach ourselves bad habits, and now through AI, we are teaching our devices bad habits. We are starting to see the effect which AI devices have on emotional intelligence when we remove “Please” and “Thank you” from our digital connections.

This also questions how we are able to infuse empathy into technology processes. We wonder how we will teach the next generation to be utilitarian with their various connected lives and how we will teach them to use the power of human connection and empathy to connect through these same devices. It will become necessary to connect with others through experiences that remove us from our own bias and put us in simulated environments that shape a more inclusive self.

We also learned that change is difficult, and everyone recognizes the need for uprising. However, few know where to start to implement real change. There are so many cultural conversations that need to be dimensionalized. Humans know what is right, but we need forums like 3% to rally around and to lean into ideas other than your own or your small circle.

The CMOs have taught us that inclusivity builds business. Being vulnerable, authentic, and drawing knowledge/inspiration from others is how great culture is formed; dictatorial and didactic leadership is not accepted in today’s workforce. We learned there is no better place to start than forming allies: share success, not just failures. We can build up each other with positive stories.

 

 

Representation is at the root of it all. Who are the people making the decisions? Who is writing the script? How are decisions being made? You cannot just convince people; they change their point of view when they experience something that challenges their beliefs. The world is one social conversational moment at a time: those moments become movements, but they remain moments if we call them that. By dismissing things as moments and not embracing them as movements, we remove the power of all the steps that got us from then to now.

When there is 30% or more of any group in a room, psychologically, we stop seeing anyone as a minority.

In addition, Radical empathetic listening is about putting ourselves in others’ shoes to truly understand what they are experiencing. This helps us all understand how others might be marginalized or not included at all. Empathic listening is really about exercising how we listen and learn about someone’s story and using “I” language. Using “I” when you tell another person’ story as if it was your own, you begin to feel what they feel. Understanding someone else is the societal start to truly connecting. Everything has become very data-driven, and we are missing the emotion in it. Radical empathy can inject that back into the experience.

At the intersection of all things possible is tech and human content. Choose your words: Communication is the tool we use to create change. Language is a creator or bias and is fundamentally crowdsourced. We need to break the system. Unconscious bias leaves people with a desire not to speak; language can be an excluder, but there are ways to participate (rewrite the dictionary, educate to empathize, believe in change). By using new language, we can actually change.

Final thoughts:

Fight. Flight. Freeze. (Change through the Freeze). We are a collective; heroism is gone. We are in search of the connections, and women and leaders who are redefining the rules by which we live, work, play. Speak and include everyone at the very beginning.


Tags:  #ThinkDIG  3%  DIG  diversity  Diversity in Advertising 

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Member Spotlight: Samantha Hawkins, Supervisor, Community Management, RPA

Posted By Emily Hope, Monday, March 26, 2018

"I was lucky enough to be Sam’s Mentor through ThinkLA’s Mentorship program and I fell in love with her immediately; she is so powerful, smart, kind, dynamic, understanding, AMAZING. Her desire to grow and learn from everyone around her is infectious – to progress not just for progression’s sake, but to expand and learn about everything around her. I so value our time together and our friendship moving forward!" - Leisha Bereson, VP, Group Director, Programmatic, Canvas Worldwide 

 


Photos: Don Lupo Photography

 

How did you get started in advertising? What's been your career road map?

I was a Business Marketing major in college, I was active in extracurriculars like sports, but also within the business department. Because I did two sports year-round, I didn’t have a lot of time to get real-world experience with internships until around my senior year. So I supplemented my course work with things like clubs, organizing local business owner speaking events, competing on the business presentations team, etc.

I eventually did get an internship where I was the Public Relations and Marketing intern for a fashion brand that was new to the West Coast and was trying to get more awareness of its denim line. I did things like compile press clippings from magazines, ship samples to Nylon and TeenVogue for their photoshoots, reach out to local bloggers for events we hosted. It was a lot of fun that was formative for me early on.

Then I got into my first real corporate job in Orange County in the automotive industry. I knew nothing about cars but Kelley Blue Book took me in as a Public Relations Coordinator. It was a temp position that eventually lead to a full-time role as a Marketing Coordinator. From there, I worked my way through the lower ranks of Marketing Specialists and then Associate Marketing Manager.

I learned a lot during those years, wearing a lot of hats in maintaining my team’s media and production budgets, learning to write effective briefs, managing our social media community and the content development process. I also learned a lot working with our media and creative agencies. I loved that the people were authentic, personable but had so much expertise in their fields.

I decided it was time for me to join the agency side so that I could learn from these amazing experts by working with them, and here I am at RPA!

 

What keeps you motivated? Do you have a personal motto?

I’m motivated by learning, growing, and helping others learn and grow. We should never lose a student mentality; we should always be learning. And at the same time, if we can each teach one another, we learn even more ourselves and we share that knowledge to help others grow. Let's elevate one another.

What excites you most about this industry?

The fast pace and changing landscapes that always keep me on my toes. I love challenges and collaboration, so this is a great industry for that!

Where is advertising heading? What do the next five years look like?

As the content bubble begins to burst, we’ll leave the days of viral video, click bait, and surface-level content that is stimulating but not valuable. The pendulum is swinging toward advertising and marketing that is both valuable in content -- what that content contributes to the daily lives of people -- and also that puts the values of people and brands front and center: humanitarian values, societal values, equality, etc.

Authenticity, transparency, and equality take center stage. I also think we’ll see traditional continue to emerge in new forms. For example, the changing landscape of digital video and original programming and that shift from TV: what’s old is new again, just in slightly different formats and spaces.

What advice do you have for black advertising professionals who are beginning their career?

Stay hungry! Hungry to learn and hungry to push for growth. Don’t expect to do the bare minimum and get more opportunity or to get meaning from your job; you have to dig deeper. Learn as much as you can and always challenge yourself, reach higher... and once you’ve achieved that, reach even higher again and again.

Make sure you give back, mentor someone, be someone’s role model, help bring someone up the ladder as you go, whether you had someone to do the same for you or not, again we need to lift each other up. Be yourself and have fun with it, surround yourself with people that contribute to your happiness and positivity; don’t feel you have to change yourself just to get by.

What should our industry be talking about in 2018?

We should be talking about what we’re actually doing to increase diversity and inclusivity within our industry, within our agencies, in the work we do for clients. Let’s talk about what we’re actually doing about it. How is it working? How are we measuring success? Let’s share best practices and learnings.

It’s 2018. We know the realities of this issue, so it’s time to show action and celebrate those that are doing it well.

Tags:  #MemberSpotlight  #ThinkDIG  Diversity  Diversity in Advertising  RPA  Social Media 

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Spotlight: Shari Holly, Program Director, PIPELINES

Posted By Emily Hope, Wednesday, March 21, 2018

When we made the call for our Women of Color in Advertising list,  we were thrilled to be introduced to a true champion of diversity and inclusion: Shari Holly. Shari is the Program Manager for PIPELINES at PRETTYBIRD, a non-profit aiming to close the access and opportunity gap by connecting underrepresented talent directly to opportunities and programs in tech and creative industries through a mobile app and series of engaging programs.

 


Photos: Don Lupo Photography


How did you get started in advertising? What's been your career road map?

My career road map is rather unconventional. Growing up in Detroit, at the time there weren’t many other black women pursuing creative careers, starting businesses, or creating non-traditional methods for success. There was a stigma (which is what I was taught) to find a stable and secure job (government, lawyer, teacher doctor), climb the corporate ladder, and retire with a sweet pension: the good ole’ American dream. I knew I was born a creative, but you really don’t know what you don’t know, and furthermore, without much access or role models, pursuing creative careers seems rather far-fetched in a sense.

I moved to Kalamazoo (yes, it’s a real city), graduated from college with a degree in Business and Spanish, and formed the idea along the way that I wanted to work in Immigration Reform and/or International Business. I wasn’t until I moved to Chicago and worked for the Tribune that I’d realize that I actually belong in Media and Entertainment, not the government. Working in advertising at the Tribune exposed me to a world of creative and media that I long to know more about and this is where my creative career was born.

After reaching my wits' end with Chicago’s brutal weather, I moved to LA never having been here before and made looking for a job full time. A month later, I landed a job (which apparently rarely happens to transplants who move here) working for a direct-response advertising agency assisting a media buyer. I didn’t love it. Numbers and post logs have never been my thing. I did that for about a year before moving on to a post-production house where I worked in Digital Media Services.

In my two and a half years here, I learned quite a bit about new age media and how VOD platforms are drastically changing the way content is digested. It was very interesting, but as much as I learned, I had reached a point in my career of having the strong desire to do something purposeful. Spending 75% of my life at a job that didn’t have purpose or give back was not something I wanted to do anymore.

I came across an opportunity to be a Diversity Program Manager for PromaxBDA. I had zero experience in D&I or Program Development but knew this would be an opportunity I would enjoy and would find purpose. Kat, the VP who interviewed me (and now, my lifelong mentor) took a chance on me and hired me because she felt my passion and commitment to this cause. It was at PromaxBDA that I realized for the first time in my life, that this is where I belonged. This work is the work that I want to do for a lifetime, and that’s to commit to doing what I can to close the access and opportunity gap for aspiring, yet underrepresented creatives, to increase inclusion in our creative industries and to create space of belonging for minorities in this industry.

After PromaxBDA, I worked with the Directors Guild of America and the Association of Independent Commercial Producers to jumpstart their first-ever Commercial Directors Diversity Program, then moved on to PRETTYBIRD, where I am currently spearheading the PIPELINES diversity and inclusion initiative. Here, we are taking a radical, unconventional approach to connecting underrepresented talent to our tech and creative industries through a mobile app. We also host a series of engaging programs and events for our demo as well. I am committed to this and exactly where I belong!

 

 

 

What keeps you motivated? Do you have a personal motto?

On a personal level, life genuinely keeps me motivated. I never take a day that I wake up in the morning for granted. Every (new) day that I have is another literal opportunity to do something different, to take my purpose to a higher level, to be thankful for my many blessings, to spread truth and peace.

Professionally, the amount of work that still needs to be done to create more direct paths the underrepresented to opportunities in our creative industries is what keeps me motivated. I have a “can’t stop, won’t stop” mentality when it comes to my work.

My personal and forever motto is “I don’t need easy; I just need possible”. I heard this in a movie called “Swimfan” and coined it as my personal mantra in everything that I do.

What excites you most about this industry?

That it’s always, always changing, and that the opportunities are limitless. Entertainment and Media are very unique industries that constantly require adaptability and change… and I love change.

Where is advertising heading? What do the next five years look like?

Hopefully, advertising is moving away from the "safe" and "traditional" and gravitating more towards the radical, boundary-pushing work that’s reflective and inclusive. I believe the next five years look like more biracial parents in commercials, more VR experiences to increase empathy in our branding for example. Brands will also face a challenge of engaging a particular, demanding, and technology-dependent demo. Brands will have to connect with their diverse demo on a deeper, personal, and more emotional level as it’s becoming more about the person and less about the masses. What a time to be alive!

What advice do you have for black advertising professionals who are beginning their careers?

There was a clip we shot of Omar Johnson, former CMO of Beats, explaining his experiences being the “only black person in the room” and what we expressed was so simple yet so powerful and something I will never, ever forget. Being black and in entertainment, there will be many times you will experience being in meetings/rooms/sets where no one or hardly anyone looks like you and while many will view this as a disadvantage, it’s actually quite the opposite. It boils down to perspective. He expressed that once he shifted his perspective, so did the dynamic in his interactions. He said that he views being the only black person in the room as a superpower. A superpower! That your views and ideas are unique, much needed, and unlike any other perspective the majority can offer. You can empathize in ways others cannot. You can offer a view that is special and autonomous. No one can offer your (necessary) view except for you and that is where you find your power, your confidence, your authenticity in your work. A light bulb went off as I watched this clip and not only have I shifted my own perspective, but I encourage other black creatives and professionals to do the same.

What should our industry be talking about in 2018?

What they can be doing specifically to create an inclusive work environment and how they can change/revamp their hiring practices and culture to attract, hire, and retain more diverse talent? Aside from the fact that having more inclusive teams and work environments increase the bottom line, the world and the world of entertainment is evolving drastically and company cultures must do the same.

Any closing thoughts?

“If you don’t prioritize your being, your doing will suffer. It’s simple, but not easy.” – Robyn Ward

 

 

Tags:  #ThinkDIG  #thinkMembers  Diversity  Diversity in Advertising  Member Profiles  Member Spotlight 

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Influential Women in Marketing

Posted By Emily Hope, Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Enjoy this partnered content provided by Laurel Mintz, CEO and Founder of Elevate My Brand. To provide content on your company's behalf, email Emily Hope, emily@thinkla.org

 


Laurel Mintz, Elevate My Brand

 

There have been countless women over the last few decades that have influenced the upward trajectory of our journey. What most have in common is that they understood the value and importance of marketing. From Madam CJ Walker, the first self-made millionaire who turned her own hair loss into a thriving CPG brand, to more current marketing mavens like Alli Webb, founder of Drybar, who also changed the hair game with her bold vision and smart marketing initiatives. These, and countless others, are and have continued to take over the world one marketing message at a time.

Here are some of the women who I think are trailblazers and influence millions with their own brand of marketing.

Social Media - Mari Smith (@marismith) – Even a decade later, consumers and brands alike continue to be stumped by social media marketing. Mari Smith is one of the sharpest and most well-known marketing gurus for small business on Facebook. She is best known for taking $50 and turning it into 500k followers. Now that’s what I call trailblazing with a tangible after burn.

Influencer – Julie Solomon (@julssolomon) – Julie spent years in the PR world, but knew she could help more people by developing a brand to help others understand how to brand and monetize themselves in the influencer world. An influencer in her own right, she now teaches others through her workshops, podcast and extensive social presence. Her infectious smile and warmth is palpable through her stunning pink hued branding as she advises her followers.

Content – Pam Neely (@Pamellaneely) – We used to say content was king, we now know it’s all about engagement through content. Pam Neely is one of, if not the most influential content marketer of our generation. If you need to build your following, e-mail marketing lists, and brand voice, you can’t do better than this content diva.

Experiential – Sarah Boyd (@sarahpboyd) – Also starting her career in the PR world, Sarah had a vision to create events where influencers and brands could engage with each other in a meaningful way. And so Simply Stylist, now Simply, was born. It was such a bold brilliant idea, that media powerhouse NYLON decided they needed it in their stable, appointing Sarah President of West Coast Operations. Sarah now jets from LA to NY to Dubai living her dream and executing her idea as a global experiential brand.

Networking – Sarah Zapp (@sarahzapp) – If you live in LA and don’t know Sarah, you’re at the wrong party. Whether flying off to do content with Martha Stewart in Norway or hosting tastemaker events with Baron Davis, Sarah Zapp is a community builder and one of the most connected women I’m lucky to call a friend.

I always tell our clients, "marketing when done right, it's the funnel to awareness and conversion when you are clear about your KPIs and measure constantly."

The above are just a few of the many ways to market well and, if you’re going to do it, you might as well follow in the footsteps of the trailblazing women who have come before you. Thank you to all the women who make seemingly impossible inroads possible for the rest of us.

By: Laurel Mintz, CEO and Founder of Elevate My Brand and Columnist of On Brand for Inc. Magazine.

Tags:  #ThinkDIG  Diversity  Elevate My Brand  inclusion  Women  Women's History 

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Celebrating the Women of ThinkLA

Posted By Emily Hope, Wednesday, March 7, 2018

To celebrate International Women's Day, we've highlighted the women of ThinkLA - from our board member badasses to our smiling staffers. It is an honor to work with such brilliant, talented, and infinitely capable women.


 

"There has never been a more exceptional time to be a woman in our industry, in our city—for myriad reasons, and not all of them good.

This is the year women spoke up, fought back, rose to the top of every department and agency. We found courage in ourselves, our friends, our colleagues. We continued to support one another, across and within our companies, hopefully inspiring the next generation to be the strong, compassionate leaders we turned out to be. Sometimes we stumbled. We found an astonishing number of allies to lift us up.

There has never been a more exceptional time. Cheers to these exceptional women.” - Kristi VandenBosch, ThinkLA Executive Board Member, and Chief Digital Officer, MXM

 

 

Megan Amic, IDEA Council

Senior Director, Media, NBC Entertainment, Marketing and Digital

 

Katie Bakunas, ThinkLA Young Professionals Council

Senior Account Manager, The Trade Desk

 

Leisha Bereson, ThinkLA Young Professionals Council

VP, Group Director, Programmatic Canvas Worldwide

 

Alexis Boerger, ThinkLA Board of Directors

VP, Medialink

 

Tenaya Bookout, Young Professionals Council

Account and Strategy Manager, Bradley and Montgomery

 

Sarah Ceglarski, ThinkLA Board of Directors

Partner, Chief Marketing Officer, Omelet

 

Olivia Christian

Event Coordinator, ThinkLA

 

Danielle CiapparaThinkLA Young Professionals Council

Manager, International Planning, Wavemaker 

 

Charlotte Cochrane, IDEA Council

EVP, Managing Director, Digital, Horizon Media 

 

Theresa Collins, ThinkLA Board of Directors

Director of PR, Wieden + Kennedy 

 

Chanel DeVetterThinkLA Young Professionals Council

Marketing Manager, FIDM

 

Serena Duff, ThinkLA Board of Directors

EVP, General Manager, Horizon

 

Susan Franceschini

Executive Director, ThinkLA

 

Andrea Green

Office Manager, ThinkLA

 

Brook Hauge, Young Professionals Council

Client and Strategy Supervisor, Canvas Worldwide

 

Emily Hope

Communications Manager, ThinkLA

 

Sara Hope Smith

Digital Designer, ThinkLA

   
 

Wanda Kato, ThinkLA Board of Directors

Managing Director, OMD

 

Jennifer Klawin, IDEA Council

SVP of Brand Partnerships, West Coast BuzzFeed

 

Myra Marayag, IDEA Council

VP of Sales, Defy Media

 

Jacqueline Melendez

Membership Coordinator, ThinkLA

 

Jasmin Mendoza

Design Intern, ThinkLA

 

Sara Morton, IDEA Council

Consultant

 

Cynthia Pena, ThinkLA Young Professionals Council

Account Executive, Marketing and Communications, Team One

 

Samantha Perlich, ThinkLA Board of Directors

Director of National Sales, GroundTruth

 

Elizabeth Primm, IDEA Council

Director, Twitter Client Solutions, Twitter

 

Kim Brown Robinson, IDEA Council

Consultant

 

Kendall Rouse, ThinkLA Young Professionals Council

Customer Success Associate, Blavity

 

Karin Schaer, ThinkLA Board of Directors

Chief Marketing Officer, The Firm

 

Linda Schwab

Director of Events and Sponsorship Director, ThinkLA

 

Lindsay Scoggins

Events Manager, ThinkLA

 

Laura Small, DIG

Vice President, Director of People, RPA

 

Lisa Solomon, IDEA Council 

Consultant 

 

 Lisa Tanner, IDEA Council

Senior Vice President, Group Account Director, RPA

 

Carol Terakawa, ThinkLA Board of Directors

SVP, Strategic Sales Development, Screenvision Media

 

Claire Thompson, ThinkLA Young Professionals Council

Sr. Strategist, Brand Connections, VICE Media

 

Kristi VandenBosch, ThinkLA Board of Directors

Chief Digital Officer, MXM

 

Liz WeinstenThinkLA Young Professionals Council

Marketing Associate, Gimbal 

 

Jana Wentz, ThinkLA Young Professionals Council

VP, Account Director, RPA 

 

Autumn White, IDEA Council 

Head of Digital, West, OMD

 

Heidi Williams, ThinkLA Board of Directors

SVP, Associate Partner, Director of HR, Dailey

 

Roya Zand, ThinkLA Young Professionals Council

Media Supervisor, Essence Global

Tags:  #ThinkDIG  Diversity  ThinkLA Board  Women at Work 

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Takeaways from DIG Outreach Event: "Elevate your Mind."

Posted By Emily Hope, Tuesday, February 27, 2018

ThinkLA's DIG Committee was proud to participate in an event that inspired African American high school students from across Los Angeles titled "Black Excellence Expo: Elevate your Mind."

The event was a combined effort from 18 committed, LA area schools, with panelists across many different fields: doctors, lawyers, advertisers, athletes, activists, fashion and entertainment industries. The keynote speaker was Robert Townsend, actor, comedian, director, and writer, and CEO of Townsend Entertainment.

 

 

The ongoing theme throughout the event was staying true to who you are, embracing your true self, and overall ethnic pride. Each speaker shared their personal journey and different struggles along their career path that have led them to where there are today.

 

 

Samantha Hawkins, Supervisor, Community Management at RPA, and DIG committee member, spoke on a panel about the importance of public service and had these takeaways from the event:

"I may not be in public service per se, but as advertisers we have a responsibility to produce work that is inclusive and represents the diversity of the people we reach with our ads every day. Advertising is everywhere. People like my fellow panelists are not represented in mainstream advertising, and we can change that so young people are accustomed to seeing people that look like them depicted in positions of power and influence in our marketing. So they know those types of careers and lifestyles are not just held exclusively for a certain type of person who looks a certain way, but that they too have the potential to achieve what they want in life. The best way of ensuring that shift, is to hire more people of color and with diverse backgrounds into roles in advertising and marketing." 

 

   
   

 

 MEMORABLE TAKEAWAYS

  • African Americans are going to have to work harder. Factor that into the equation and prepare for it."
  • "When they doubt your ability, use that as fuel to your flame: Prove them wrong, and get used to doing that again and again." - Mel Carlisle, Managing Director, Oaktree Capital Management
  • Everyone applying wants the job, but who has a passion for it? Stand out from the competition by being able to articulate why you love it.
  • Connect with real people outside of your job. Do things that put you in contact with the real world not just to round out your résumé, but to keep you grounded and rooted in helping others.

 

Tags:  #ThinkDIG  Diversity  entertainment  student outreach 

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Member Spotlight: Clarissa Garrett, Senior Art Producer, RPA

Posted By Emily Hope, Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Photos: Don Lupo Photography

 

How did you get started in advertising? What's been your career road map?

I was about 5 years old when I began performing my favorite ad jingle for my mother and her friends at their Saturday night hangouts. I’d sneak in the kitchen, steal a frying pan and start singing “I can bring home the bacon…fry it up in a pan”! This circa 1980 Enjoli perfume commercial reenactment always resulted in riotous laughter to my satisfaction.

Completely unaware that Advertising was a viable career option, I applied to Syracuse Universities S.I Newhouse School of public communications out of high school, in hopes of becoming the next Oprah. It only took 3 weeks of a first-year broadcast journalism class to confirm that the “News” was not my passion. I switched to the Advertising track and consumed all aspects of the discipline.

After graduation, I had no idea how to land a job in the field so I researched mentoring programs. [ThinkLA's] Minority Advertising Training program (MAT) helped me to land an internship at Saatchi & Saatchi where I partnered with an amazing mentor. With her help, I found the Art Production department which was a creative mix of photography, project management and world travel!

After a decade working Automotive accounts and then a few years freelancing, I landed my dream job working on the Apple account. With a deep love for Apple products at an intensely creative agency, I proudly helped to launch the iPad and was one of the Senior producers for the Shot on iPhone campaign. I’m now happily working on Honda on a brand I both love and respect at an agency whose mission is to put its people first (RPA).

 

     

 

What keeps you motivated? Do you have a personal motto?

“Just keep singing”… My love for music and performing keeps me motivated. Learning, writing, performing and creating music cleanses my soul! Even just listening to music of all genres calms my mind. It’s sort of prophetic in the way that it becomes the window into what is happening in culture and in our collective consciousness. When I began writing my own music, it gave me a voice and allowed me to live life more “woke” and happy. Music is therapy and it sparks creativity. Everyone should have something in their lives that fills their heart in this way. What excites you most about this industry? It’s exciting because it’s always evolving and requires its members to evolve as well. You can’t hate change and be successful in this business. Advertising reflects and informs culture and so we have to watch it and live it and make sure we are hiring diverse cultural influencers and experts so that our voice remains relevant and our ideas stay fresh.

Where is advertising heading? What do the next five years look like?

 You only have to watch a couple of Black Mirror episodes to know we are only at the beginning of the digital media evolution. My kids aren’t into social media at all, they are busy building their own worlds in Minecraft! Ads are becoming product placements in our digital lives and that is probably only going to go to deeper more savvy levels.

What advice do you have for black advertising professionals that are beginning their career?

 Find an amazing mentor! Please note, this person does not necessarily need to look like you! If you find someone you admire, just start asking questions. See if they are willing to make an investment in your dream by sharing what they’ve learned. I’ve had incredible mentors through the years at every level in my career from diverse backgrounds and each enriched my life and path in profound ways.

What should our industry be talking about in 2018?

As advertisers I think we have the power to change the narrative in culture. I believe we should be putting out messages of unity and continue to focus on ending divisiveness in the world.

In the summer of 2016, I was one of the producers on an Apple spot called “The Human Family” which celebrated global diversity and was narrated by the late poet laureate Maya Angelou. It was released at a time when our country needed the message. And yes, it sold products but it also sold hope, unity and the idea that we are all “more alike, than we are unalike”.

Any closing thoughts?

Just keep singing…

Tags:  #ThinkDIG  Art Producer  Career Advice  Creatives  Diversity  Member Spotlight  RPA 

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Member Spotlight: Bupendra Ram

Posted By Emily Hope, Tuesday, January 30, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, February 6, 2018

How did you get started in advertising? What's been your career road map?

Ethnically, I am Indian, but I was born in the Fiji Islands. I came to the U.S. when I was two years old when my family fled Fiji because of a political coup. We got a tourist visa to enter the U.S. Before we left, we met a man who was charging people $10,000 for an opportunity to get a green card as soon as we entered the U.S.

Upon our arrival in the U.S., we were presented with a green card. By the time we realized it was a hoax, we had overstayed and became undocumented. At the age of 23, I became Undocumented and Unafraid, and Queer and Unashamed. At this time, I joined passionate and resilient people to fight for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) and help people understand that immigration is a global issue and not just for people south of our border.

In 2014, as a strong and unified community, we helped the Obama administration do the right thing by partnering with hundreds of lawyers to provide him with the legal groundings to provide administrative relief to a category of undocumented youth.

 

Don Lupo Photography

 

As a recipient of DACA, my career in Human Resources has been relatively short but full of adventure and growth.

When I received DACA, I started to think about the opportunities that were not previously available or open to me. As a natural community builder and networker, I reached out to people and conducted informational interviews. I quickly learned that Human Resources would be the perfect blend of my love for business and people. In addition, I would be able to take my learnings back to my respective communities in two ways: 

  • I would learn how to support people from disadvantaged background with career planning, structuring and formatting their resume, branding themselves, and improving their interviewing skills;
  • I would learn the how to help others like me gain access to opportunities not always open to people with my experience or those who look like me.

The overall goal would be to become a Diversity and Inclusion practitioner to aggressively impact corporate culture.

Three years ago, I accepted an internship that would give me a broad understanding of Human Resources and gain practical experience. After outgrowing that role, I found an amazing opportunity as a Human Resources Coordinator at my first advertising agency, Hawthorne. I loved working with some of the most passionate and dedicated people in the industry. I directly impacted Hawthorne’s culture by helping them create a culture of trust and accountability. I loved helping their agency grow and be a place where people loved waking up and going to.

A year later, I was offered an opportunity to join Innocean USA with more responsibilities and an opportunity to be a part of a dynamic group of HR professionals. I was able to quickly learn more HR skills and dive into areas of HR that I am passionate about – diversity and Inclusion, employee relations, recruiting, and change management. Currently, through sheer determination, I am working in a field that I’m passionate about and love: Diversity and Inclusion at Live Nation as a Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator.

 

 

What (who) keeps you motivated? Do you have a personal motto?

My mom keeps me motivated. She continues to sacrifice so much so that I can have the experiences and opportunities that I am having. She left Fiji to travel to a place she had no idea about, had the courage to leave her abusive husband, and thrive when all the odds were against her.

Personal motto: “Why not?” I have always been told that I cannot achieve my goals because I am either undocumented, queer, a person of color, or an array of other reasons. I think sometimes we hold ourselves back because of our own subjugation and what we think is “normal.” I always try to figure out a way around challenges and push boundaries as much as I can.

 

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned so far?

I have learned that mistakes are your best friend. They help you learn and get better at what you do. It shows that you are in the arena and fighting to succeed. I have just learned how to be accountable for my mistakes, learn from them, and move on.

 

What excites you most about this industry?

Simply, it's the people. I think that marketing, advertising, and entertainment attract some of the most amazing and diverse people. Everyone is so passionate about what they do and creative that it makes work fun. Also, each day is so different that it forces you to find creative solutions to business challenges.

 

Where is advertising heading? What do the next five years look like?

The industry is molding to adapt to the changing demographics of people within the United States and abroad. People are rejecting binaries, labels, and identities that pigeonhole them. The blanketed approach to sell or entertain generalized demographics is not going to work.

Over the next five years, I think that the industry will be trying to understand how they can cater to this new demographic and rebrand themselves. For example, so many women are telling their #MeToo story and some are taking it a step further to make sure that we are changing who we are as a society and industry. We are going to have to move forward together and embrace the differences that make us unique and who we are. People want organization to reflect their values and the diversity that they see around them.

 

Why are you involved with ThinkLA?

I love ThinkLA and value their collaborative frame of connecting advertising agencies and supplying them with tools to be successful. I have been working with them for over a year through their Diversity, Inclusion, and Gender (DIG) initiative to help create tools and resources for our industry and highlighting opportunities related to diversity, inclusion, and gender for our industry, and allowing us to harness the power of our unique backgrounds to the greater good.

 

What advice do you have for those just starting in advertising?

Network and let people know what you are passionate about. Since I started a career in HR, I went to most networking events and met as many people as I could. During every interaction, I found a way to tell everyone and anyone that would hear me that I want to practice diversity and inclusion. The industry is very small, everyone knows each other, and most people are open to mentoring and supporting you.

 

In Adobe's recent "Creativity’s Diversity Disconnect" study, which highlighted diversity issues in the advertising industry, 54% responded that the industry was “getting better compared to five years ago,” while 7% actually said it was getting worse. And a resounding number of minorities described lack of access and seeing themselves reflected in the workplace. As a member of ThinkLA’s DIG initiative, what are your thoughts on these findings? How can the industry improve?

I am not completely surprised by the results. There has been a shift to address issues around diversity, but more work needs to be done around inclusion. Diversity needs to be done in an authentic way without ignoring the intersectionality of individuals with the support of people from dominant groups. Diversity impacts all of us and everyone needs to be involved to address these issues within their respective organization. I wholeheartedly believe that – together – we can get to a place where people can bring their full selves to the workplace.

 

Any closing thoughts?

Be yourself – your whole self – your authentic self. It makes everything so much easier.

 

 

Tags:  #ThinkDIG  Advertising  Bupendra Ram  Career Advice  DACA  Diversity  Diversity in Advertising  Immigration  Innocean  Live Nation  Member Spotlight 

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Los Angeles Women of Color in Advertising

Posted By Emily Hope, Thursday, January 25, 2018
Updated: Thursday, February 8, 2018

We were inspired by The Drum's "More than 70 women of color who should be speaking at marketing conferences," and we wanted to start our own list of women of color who should (and hopefully will) be speaking at ThinkLA events in 2018.

We hope to add many more women to this list! You can help by submitting your nominations here: bit.ly/lawomenofcolor.

 

SAMANTHA LIM, VP, DIGITAL ACTIVATION, EMPOWER MEDIA TEAM

"Women of color in gaming? How cool is that? Sam runs the Xbox account at Empower after a long career in the entertainment category with studios like New Line and Lions Gate. She's incredibly talented, creative, smart and funny!"

 

ANA (ANNIE) RODRIGUEZ, EVP, CONILL

"Annie is an industry veteran who has worked on major multinational brands. She is a smart strategic thinker and leads with her head AND heart."

 

YUMI PRENTICE, PRESIDENT, DAVID&GOLIATH

"Yumi is passionate and an expert leader in her field. She is valued by her team and clients, not just for her contributions, but for her personality that makes collaboration, creativity and innovation possible."

 

LAURA SEMPLE, VP, DIRECTOR OF CONTENT STRATEGY, CONILL

"Laura is a rock star! Super smart, super strategic, great sense of humor and dynamic personality."

 

JENNIFER MILLER, GROUP SEARCH DIRECTOR, NEO@OGILVY

"I consider Jennifer a leader in search marketing in Los Angeles previously running search for Saatchi and most recently Neo@Ogilvy. She's a great leader and partner in the space."

 

KAT CHUNG, DIRECTOR, ADVERTISING, MEDIA, RED BULL

"Kat ran the DPSG business at Initiative and it's an incredibly tough account because they don't have the budgets of Coke and Pepsi and it's was a grueling planning schedule. The clients loved her at DPSG, I was surprised when they moved the account to NY because of Kat. She's incredibly smart. Was happy to see that Red Bull was smart enough to pick her up!"

 

RINKU MAHBUBANI, DIGITAL DIRECTOR, SPARK FOUNDRY

"Rinku started her media career as a planner at RPA on Honda and has come full circle now as the Digital Media Director at RPA on Honda. She is a veteran in automotive marketing both Tier 2 and National and an incredibly smart marketer."

 

HWA-SHIH LEE, SVP, PALISADES MEDIA GROUP

"Promoted to SVP almost two years ago Hwa-Shih is her own brand and the face of Palisades Media Group to the LA advertising community and she was instrumental in Palisades winning the coveted Netflix account."

 

ROCHELLE WEBB, PRESIDENT AND CHIEF STRATEGY OFFICER, THE DIALECTIC COMPOUND

"She's brilliant, huge background in media and marketing, multiple degrees, started her own company, also gives back. Agency and client side experience, and start-up experience."

 

MICHELLE WONG, MANAGING PARTNER, GROUP ACCOUNT DIRECTOR, DAILEY

"Michelle has great energy and can bring vim and excitement to the account side of advertising conversations. She has a background in food and graduated from Le Cordon Bleu, so working in branding for foods has been a natural course for her; currently she oversees Nestlé brands across NUSA and Nestlé Health Sciences Divisions. Dailey as a company also has an interesting story about redefining their corporate identity, taking a deep dive into agency culture, and reclaiming their soul after buying themselves back from holding company IPG."

 

BETTINA SHERICK, SVP CONSUMER INSIGHTS AND INNOVATION, 20TH CENTURY FOX, AND FOUNDER, HOLLYWOOD IN PIXELS

"Bettina is a leader in the Entertainment Marketing industry for 20th Century Fox and the first to develop a non-profit organization founded in 2015 to ensure that the seminal digital film campaigns that help drive digital marketing into the lexicon of Hollywood are recovered and preserved, as well as to insure that the incredible campaigns of today and tomorrow are not lost to time."

 

ARIANA THOMAS, DIGITAL MANAGER, DIGITAL MEDIA MANAGEMENT

"Ariana is the best mentor I have ever had - she is a diligent, highly knowledgeable and determined individual. She has a knack for managing clients' social media needs, while giving the best thoughtful recommendations."

 

CILMARA SANTOS, VP OF CLIENT RELATIONS AND BRAND PARTNERSHIPS, CONILL

"Cilmara is incredibly smart and connected. She knows the space well and provides informed and insightful perspective on brands, communications, and the industry in general."

 

BERNICE CHAO, ASSOCIATE CREATIVE DIRECTOR, DAVID&GOLIATH

"Bernice is passionate and an expert leader in her field. She is valued by her team and clients, not just for her contributions, but for her personality that makes collaboration, creativity and innovation possible."

 

DARLENE LINARES, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, DIGITAL, CARAT

"Also a force in the entertainment category, Darlene was also on the publisher side and part of strategy for Uproxx and worked on some of the amazing programs they did there like the Honda Uncharted program that was showcased at ThinkLA's Auto Breakfast. She has the perspective both from the agency side and publisher side.

Darlene is also extremely philanthropic, which gives her an interesting perspective of the world. She has been centering her travel and vacations around this and was recently accepted to a volunteer program in Uganda where she will be living and working with AIDS children."

NANCY TAMAYO, FOUNDER/CEO, ADDITION LLC

"She's probably one of the only women of color that started her own influencer management company after being an early executive at Machinima and Collective Digital Studio. Her company manages some of the top social influencers on YouTube." 

 

MEGAN CHAN AMIC, SENIOR DIRECTOR, MEDIA, NBC UNIVERSAL MEDIA

"Besides being lovely, she's been in the entertainment community in Los Angeles forever and I don't ever remember her being on a panel and she should be. Recently I've seen her behind many really creative executions, including viral/social/custom projects for NBC TV."

 

JENNIFER ROSE, INFLUENCER MARKETING MANAGER, IPSY

"Jennifer has immense knowledge in the digital marketing space. From her roots in PR to creative content strategy to influencer partnerships is what makes her a well-rounded digital marketer." 

 

JENNIFER CHAN, VP, DIGITAL DIRECTOR, HORIZON MEDIA

"Jennifer is a force in Los Angeles in the entertainment category, starting with Sony, then leading Paramount at MEC and now STX and Horizon. Jennifer is a favorite in this industry for her creativity, professionalism and being a great partner."

 

INDREE MOONESINGHE, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, OMD (APPLE TEAM)

"Indree has worked on the agency side, publisher side, and social side, so she has a strong base across the board. She also has worked in NY and London and I find her adventures admirable but also add to her experience." 

 

NICOLE BUTTE, PRESIDENT, DIGITAL PEP

"You mean beyond beating stage four breast cancer and becoming an inspiration to many women in this industry? Nicole is another veteran in the LA entertainment community having run media and New Line and Focus Features, now running her own consulting business working with brands like Amazon Originals."

 

ANA LYDIA MONACO, CREATIVE DIRECTOR, WRITER, AND PRODUCER AT PADMA MEDIA, INC.

"She had a very successful career in PR, specializing in Hispanic, and she is currently a few months away from completing a degree in production, directing and writing at the prestigious Art Center in Pasadena. She also runs a blogger collective and is a social influencer." 

 

BERNADETTE RIVERO, PRESIDENT, THE CORTEZ BROTHERS, INC.

Bernadette is President of one of the only Latina-owned production companies in the advertising industry nationwide; works across both advertising and entertainment in Hollywood. She's been tracking Super Bowl commercial diversity stats since 2015."

 

CARRON BROWN, VP, GROUP ACCOUNT DIRECTOR, THE INTEGER GROUP

"Carron works at the intersection of branding, selling, pop culture, and technology. She prides herself on being a change agent, and helps brands step into new industries and elevate their current perception with the target market."

 

KRISTINA "KJ" JENKINS, CHIEF STRATEGY OFFICER, ZAMBEZI

"Kristina “KJ” Jenkins is #15 on The Drum list. She leads Zambezi’s strategy team, helping brands explore trends in creativity and culture, tapping into her forte as a pop culture expert. KJ’s cultural insights have played a key role in Zambezi's 2016 One Show Gold Pencil and Cannes Gold Lion winning campaign The Uncommon Force for STANCE™, Star Wars limited-edition collection, as well as TaylorMade’s The Wait, which was honored with a Sports Clio, Autotrader’s millennial-themed campaign featuring the spots The Journey, One Search , Concert and Kick and the wild experiential street & social media event Driven By Style."

 

SHEILA MARMON, CEO, MIRROR DIGITAL

"Sheila is a pioneer of online campaigns targeted to people of color." 

 

RAHIEL DAWIT, SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER, BLAZE PIZZA

"Rahiel has an ability to put people at ease and has immense knowledge of social media marketing for fortune 500 companies as well as start-ups."

 

CARLENE ROWE, DIRECTOR OF BRAND PARTNERSHIPS & EXPERIENTIAL, CONILL

"A passionate, charismatic and caring leader, Carlene has transformed businesses throughout her career. Since joining Conill, she has honed a distinctive practice area that is increasingly important for brands in a conversation-driven marketplace.

Carlene’s inclusive approach inspires collaboration among colleagues and agency partners alike. She's a true champion of mentorship and development. Her impact on people and culture extends well beyond the bounds of her team."

 

MELLISSA TONG, FOUNDER/CEO, DUCKPUNK PRODUCTIONS, INC

"Mellissa has created a company that specializes in the production of top quality commercials, features, episodic TV, webcasts, and documentaries earning her a reputation for excellence and efficiency."

 

CONNIE CHIU, MEDIA DIRECTOR, RPA

"Connie is hilarious! She brings a natural energy and enthusiasm to her presentations, and she knows the media space well."

 

 SHARI HOLLY, PROGRAM DIRECTOR, PIPELINES (PRETTYBIRD)

"Shari's commitment to bringing diversity and inclusion into the advertising field is remarkable, her energy and passion make her goals happen, and that's what makes her special."

 

 RHONDA FORTNER, DIGITAL MARKETING MANAGER, INNOCEAN USA

"Rhonda is super smart and approachable, and she knows a ton about both the digital media landscape and Tier 2 automotive advertising."

BRENDA DURAN, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, LA COUNTY REGISTRAR/COUNTY CLERK

"Brenda is first-generation Mexican American and a USC alumna who has done amazing things in her communications career. After a successful career in journalism she now oversees the marketing and media efforts for the largest voting jurisdiction in the country here in LA County. She is responsible for overseeing all of the marketing efforts to get Angelenos educated about voting rights and options. Her awesome marketing and ad campaigns have been recognized by PRSA both in Orange County and LA."

SAMANTHA HAWKINS, SUPERVISOR, COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT, RPA

"Sam is articulate, personable, and extremely insightful. She brings a thoughtful and pragmatic approach to a very complicated and ever-evolving space."

LEISHA BERESON, VP, GROUP MEDIA DIRECTOR, PROGRAMMATIC, CANVAS WORLDWIDE

"Leisha is incredibly smart and is overseeing a leading edge discipline on behalf of two major automotive brands."

CHRISTINA IGARAIVIDEZ, ASSOCIATE MEDIA DIRECTOR, RPA

"Christina is immersed in the landscape of multicultural advertising, and can provide a nuanced and very experienced point of view on Hispanic perspectives and how to advertise to Hispanic consumers. She also has a robust social media presence of her own."

CLARISSA GARRETT, SENIOR ART PRODUCER, RPA

"Clarissa knows the art production space well, and has worked on brands as diverse as Honda, Apple, and more. She is well connected with photographers around the world. In her spare time, she is also a cabaret singer!"

KANYA HENG, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, RESEARCH, ANALYTICS AND INSIGHTS, RPA

"Kanya is brilliant! She knows the analytics space inside and out and is great at making complicated data maps easy to understand."

 

DEANNE YAMAMOTO, MANAGING DIRECTOR, GOLIN LA

"As an Asian American woman in the field of media and PR Deanne has broken through more barriers than most. She has spent her entire career at big agencies continuing to rise in spite of the difficult fields she chose. Additionally, as a leader she is so connected to her staff, championing them at every turn and is a leader in the industry as it relates to creativity, client relations and how we stay ahead in this every changing landscape. Her ideas are endless."

Tags:  #ThinkDIG  DIG  DIG Initiative  diversity  gender  inclusion  Multiculturalism  Speakers  Women of Color in Advertising 

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